What we’re tracking on 10 July 2018
** A (not so) quick programming note: We’ve combined our What We’re Tracking This Week and On the Horizon sections into a single section we’re calling “Up Next.” The newly renamed section appears starting today after Speed Round, with the idea being that we’ll streamline your morning read a bit. Here’s the read order of the top half of Enterprise going forward, with a hint as to our logic:
- What We’re Tracking Today: A top-down view on the national, regional and global business and financial developments that will set the tone for your day here in Egypt. It’s about “what’s ongoing” and “what’s going to happen” more than “what happened yesterday.”
- Last Night’s Talk Shows: Egyptian talk shows shape the nation’s news and policymakers’ agendas in a particularly twisted and direct way. It is one part political theater, one part live politics in the raw. Plenty of it is relevant to business — that’s what we focus on. (Digressing from our digression: Have any of you, like us, ever stepped back and wondered what it says about journalism in Egypt — or our political culture, or whatever —that we debate rice crop policies in prime time on national television?)
- Speed Round: Our marquee news section. Think of it as a modern take on a print newspaper’s front page, including a mix of our own reporting and analysis; pickups of the most important regulatory statements, releases and reports of the day; and verified chatter in the domestic and international press.
- Up Next: Items ranging from court rulings to expected political visits, planned hearings at the House of Representatives, et cetera, that will matter to your corporate and risk calendars in the days, weeks and months ahead. Items here migrate over time to our full calendar, which appears on our website at the bottom of each day’s issue.
- Egypt in the News: What the international press is saying about us, for good or for ill.
- On Deadline: What the nation’s columnists have to say that’s relevant to business (if anything at all).
The privatization program was at the top of the agenda when the Madbouly cabinet’s economic group met yesterday, a cabinet statement suggests, as ministers talked through the timeline for the program for this year through to 2020. We are expecting an announcement in the coming weeks ahead of the fall equity raising season. Look for Eastern Tobacco to pilot the program with a 4% stake sale.
Yields on 10-year government treasuries reached yesterday their highest level since July 2017, according to Al Mal. CBE data shows that 10-year T-bills have reached 17.859%, up 140 bps from last year. Yields on five-year treasuries also spiked 140 bps y-o-y.
Have we reached peak yield? EFG Hermes lead economist Mohamed Abu Basha sees the higher bond yields at CBE auctions as a symptom of “hot money” investors pulling out as the CBE began monetary easing and lowering interest rates this year. Abu Basha doesn’t see yields dropping anytime soon, saying he doesn’t see the CBE resuming its monetary easing in the short term as it waits for the blip caused by the most recent round of subsidy cuts to pass.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has canceled a planned trip to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, and France as his government grapples with the aftermath of widespread flooding, Reuters reports. The trip was meant to kick off tomorrow.
Waiting for the governator: There’s still no word on when the reshuffle of provincial governors may take place. That’s the bottom line in an Al Masry Al Youm report that suggests leading jurists may be among the candidates for higher office. The shuffle had been expected at the end of June.
Egypt was Africa’s third largest market for “corporate transactions” in 1H2018 according to Africa-focused research firm Stratlink, Kenya’s Business Daily reports. Egypt reportedly USD 1.42 bn worth of M&As, IPOs and other equity-related transactions in the first half of the year, tying with Morocco for third place. At the head of the pack: South Africa and Nigeria.
Can we just agree it’s going to be a “challenging” fall for emerging markets and get over the Zombie Apocalypse stuff? Bloomberg TV was awash in talk yesterday about how the EM meltdown is “on pause” because the world didn’t immediately end after the US and China slapped each other with trade sanctions. And the carry trade, it says, is “making a comeback.” Even if Bloomberg’s index shows that EM currencies are in their longest losing run since 2015, the broadcaster tells us, UBS’s head of global emerging market strategy, Geoff Dennis, thinks we’re probably hitting the bottom for EM (listen, runtime: 5:43).
So, is there a frame out there that might help me understand what’s going on? Enter Mohamed El Erian like Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Writing for the Financial Times, he says the outlook “suggests further USD appreciation, continued outperformance of US stocks and occasional spikes in volatility. It is a world in which companies with solid balance sheets, limited financial mismatches and agile business models should be in demand as long-term investors find opportunity in solid names temporarily and unduly depressed. It is also an environment in which active managers are better placed to outshine passive investing approaches.” There’s plenty here for EM investors to consider. Read: The journey for financial markets is wilder than it looks.
Your British counterparty is going to be talking today about the prospects of Theresa May losing her gig as prime minister after both her Brexit negotiator and foreign minister Boris Johnson resigned. Top negotiator David Davis was somewhat classy on the way out, but Boris was last heard mumbling that May’s ‘soft’ Brexit plan would see the UK “truly headed for the status of a colony” (no joke). You can read his resignation letter in full here or catch more in the Financial Times or Reuters, as you prefer. Sterling is sliding in the wake of the news, so if there’s any justice in the world, you may be able to find a way to snap up a few GBP at a slight discount if you’re hoarding them to pay school fees this fall.
Your American counterparty is going to be talking today about prospects of a conservative lock on the US Supreme Court that could guarantee a generation of rulings that roll-back rights protections for women, minorities and LGBTQ people. That’s right, folks: The Donald just made nominated his second appointment to the US Supreme Court. The New York Times has a good take here (the great Maggie Haberman shares the byline, but we’ll be waiting for more from supreme court reporter Adam Liptak later today), while Politico has chapter and verse on nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
World Cup tonight: Even if one of us wasn’t an inveterate Francophile, having done K-12 in French, we’d be cheering France tonight as it faces off against Belgium at 8:00pm CLT in the first World Cup semifinal. Next up: Croatia face England tomorrow at 8:00pm. The third-place match is Saturday at 4:00pm, with the final set for Sunday at 5:00pm.